one of my favourite destinations is Mombasa, Kenya. It is a short flight away 45mins or about four to five hours by road from Nairobi. I love the heat, the history, the food, the languid pace of life, the Swahili life style and the Swahili architecture and design.I can spend hours in 'old town' the original Swahili settlement and a world heritage site. i spend hours tramping up and down the charmingly named "ndia Kuu" literary meaning the old road. Way back when sea faring was the only means of international travel travellers would land somewhere near ndia kuu and walk up the incline into Mombasa and Kenya. everything that is Kenya as we know it is thanks to ndia kuu since that the route that brought in the west to Kenya. whether that was a good thing or not has nothing to do with this post and i aint touching it.
inserted :eye candy to provide respite from the super long lecture-as a peace offering sorry ;-)
a mishmash of the native Africans and sea faring traders including Arabs and Indians resulted in a new culture and language known as Swahili. The language thus born has become lingua franca in East Africa. as for their design especially in furniture, simply brilliant from the famed carved Swahili doors built to withstand battering by elephants to everyday pieces, they excelled and the art is still being passed on from master to apprentice .
that is the non schooled in Swahili history but think that they are the coolest version. consult someone who actually paid attention in school for better details.
the point of the long winded tale is Swahili doors see peace offering above. I love them I want one they cost an arm, a leg and a kidney. What is an ostrich to do?
look at the detailed carving with strong Arab/Islamic influences and a touch of African in the borders and it is actually being used in a Swahili style shop(swoon)
this brings me to our house, we bought it from someone who had been unable to evict the tenant but that did not stop us. The acreage, location and price were unbeatable add to that a colonial era house ?..sold. Evil tenants be damned! Getting evil tenant guy out took a full year, lawyers, police, auctioneers and private security wow talk of drama! It merits a whole post or ten. The house was just about to fall down and the Reno job is the fodder for this blog.
Evil tenant guy was running a Swahili reproduction business out of the compound so I ended up salvaging lots of bits and pieces from the rubbish pile and in the kitchen (which was awful-picture cabinetry from the fifties painted a sickly shade of pink and stenciled with seaside motifs in dirty ink blue shudder) there was a spice cabinet mounted on the wall OHHH score! solid rosewood and doors modeled on the Swahili doors.
Forgive the photo quality i use a phone camera and its going to betah way for some time and why wont the stupid picture center?
even with a crappy camera the hand carved details are amazing. I took it off the wall removed the shelving to mimic authentic Swahili doors in miniature ...i literally DIE! (sorry Rachel Zoe).
Am thinking on a wall with the sunlight hitting the waxed to a gleam details just so. Be still my heart.
sorry for the super long long post.